You Need Red Onion To Add Some Zing To Your Potato Salad

Potato salad is a classic side to serve in so many situations, whether it is accompanying sandwiches at a picnic or rounding out the spread along with burgers and baked beans at a barbeque. There are many ways to make this dish, and there is much debate as to what makes up the best ingredients for potato salad. While we certainly won't knock anyone else's favorite additions, we recommend trying out red onion as a featured ingredient the next time you find yourself making this divisive side.

The core components of most potato salads are the same: cooked potatoes and a creamy dressing. For this reason, many popular mix-ins attempt to balance the starchy, fatty base of the salad by adding contrast either in flavor or texture. Red onion is so effective in this respect because it packs a punch in both arenas. The piquant bite of the onion provides a stark juxtaposition to the rich dressing, while the sharp crunch does the same to the soft potatoes. The result is a fresher, more complex salad that you can't help but keep digging into.

Tips for a successful addition

Successfully adding red onion to your potato salad begins with selecting the perfect onion. When shopping, look for one that feels heavy in your hand with firm flesh and even, saturated color. In terms of preparing the vegetable for the dish, be sure to either thinly slice or finely dice it, as larger pieces of raw red onion can be overwhelming and unpleasant to bite into. If you are not a fan of raw onion flavor, you can still impart the same zing and crunch to your salad by using our sugar-free pickled red onions recipe. As an added bonus, these pickled onions will add some tanginess that many enjoy in potato salad.

This versatile upgrade can elevate many existing potato salad recipes, as the flavor of red onion complements both more savory and sweeter versions of the dish. Red onion is already a central ingredient in both Greek potato salad and Sicilian potato salad, where its crisp flavor brightens these already-lighter variations on the American classic. We think it is even more welcome, however, in the heavier and more indulgent takes on the side, including this creamy dill potato salad and this classic southern potato salad.